Saturday, October 13, 2012


Jenna found her first on the doormat.

The second was waiting when she took her seat on the bus. No one claimed responsibility, but that was the tradition. It was anonymous.
It was no surprise to find another in her locker. It was startling to find three.
In previous years, she might have gotten three in total. She’d accumulated so many so early in the day.
She made it to study hall, her last period of the day, before she found two more in her book bag. "Who did this?" Everyone looked at her like she was crazy. The teacher in charge told her to sit down and be quiet.
There are many stories about how and when the tradition of gifting Coblins began. They’re meant to ensure a scary Halloween to the person who receives them.
Coblins are small ears of dried, colored corn fashioned to look like people. They appeared at stands and markets in the middle of September. Children and adults enjoy the tradition.
When she got home, she found another in the mailbox. She began to worry. If one guaranteed a scary Halloween, what did more than a half dozen mean? She was afraid to go into the house.
"You're being stupid. It’s just a prank."

Getting ready for a night out kept her mind occupied. By the time she was ready to get dressed, she'd nearly forgotten about the “Invasion of the Coblins.”
Then she found four additional Coblins under the costume lying on her bed. That brought the total to twelve. Her heart raced.
"This isn't funny," she yelled to no one in particular. Where had these come from? She was the only one at home.
Jenna tossed the latest on her desk with the others, when the phone rang.
"Hey Baby. You 'bout ready?"
"I just have to finish getting dressed."
"You okay? You sound weird."

"Did you get any Coblins today?"

 "Yeah, the usual one from my parents. And the one from you of course. Why?"
"I got twelve Karl!" Jenna could feel her face redden.

"Twelve? Holy crap! I don't think I've heard of anyone getting more than like six."
"I know."

"Why’d you get so many?"
"I have no idea but it's pissing me off."

"Relax, it's harmless."
"Huh," Jenna pouted.

"I’ll be there in ten. We’ll get rid of them, and then we’ll go have fun."

Before leaving the room, Jenna brushed the dolls into the wastebasket, and carried it downstairs. She glanced at them, jumbled on a bed of crumpled paper. A shiver ran through her. She felt ridiculous.
“You don’t scare me,” she lied.
She didn’t want to be in the house with them, so she set the basket on the back porch. As she closed the door, putting a barrier between them, she felt some relief. She’d feel even better when Karl disposed of them.

The headlights from Karl’s truck flashed at the end of the driveway. Jenna, went to the door to meet him. He was out of the driver’s door almost before the truck had come to a complete stop. Jenna smiled guiltily.
“So where are the nasty little guys that have been giving you such a hard time?”

“I put them out back.”
As she followed him around the side of the house, she noticed a figure in the cab of the truck. 

“My Mom made me bring Kurt. He’s been begging to go to the haunted house all week. Sorry, I thought we’d be alone.”

 “It’s okay.” She couldn’t deny feeling a little disappointed. “The two of us can go back there for a movie later. Mom and Dad are going out, so we’ll have the house to ourselves.”
“That’d be awesome. We’ll ditch the kid as soon as we can.”

As the porch came into view, Jenna again felt herself tense.
“So what should we do with these little nasties?” Jenna thought she detected a hint of humor in Karl’s voice.

“I’d like to burn the bastards.”
“Let’s do it then.”

“But where?”
Karl cocked his head toward the gas grill nearby. Why hadn’t she thought of that?

Karl fired up the elements, and cranked the dials to high. When it had heated up, he started tossing the Coblins onto the grate. Immediately they began to darken, smoke and then alight. Before her eyes all tweleve became harmless bits charred pieces of nothing. Now she could enjoy the rest of the evening.

Situated between the brothers Jenna felt cozy, but the silence became awkward. Jenna decided to say something to break the tension. "I'm gonna put my purse in your glove compartment. I don't want to carry it through the haunted house."
She leaned over, and popped the door in the dash near Kurt's knees. She had trouble stashing the small bag. Putting the purse in her lap she explored the compartment to move what was in the way.
She pricked her finger, she shrieked and jumped back. Karl quickly curbed the truck. Assuming his brother has done something to Jenna, he was prepared to make him regret it.
"What happened?"
"I jabbed myself on something. She held her hand up to her face and thought she could see blood.

"Let me see." Karl turned on the dome light.
Jenna could see she was indeed bleeding, but not much. A small bead bloomed where she'd been wounded.
"What have you got in there?"
Kurt leaned forward and carefully removed the culprit.
Jenna felt her whole body go numb. It couldn't be. Another Coblin. Her thirteenth. It was most definitely for her. Even without confirmation, she knew it.
"I thought I left that at home." She turned to Karl in disbelief.
"That's from you?"

 "I wasn't going to give it to you. When I heard how upset you were, I changed my mind."
Karl looked at his brother suspiciously. Kurt held up his hands as if in surrender.

"I swear, it wasn't me."
"I don’t care who it was. It’s too late to for that. It’s the thirteenth.

"What’s that got to do with anything? It’s just a number. Thirteen isn’t good or bad.”
"I just have a feeling. I think you should take me home.”
"Jenna, come on. You’re being silly.”
"Am I? Can you guarantee that nothing bad is going to happen tonight?”

 "The tradition says you’ll have a scary Halloween, not a deadly one.” "Yeah, well the tradition refers to a single Coblin. I’ve gotten way more than that.” "Sweetie...”
"Don’t Sweetie me. I’m scared.”

"Nothing’s going to happen. I’ll be with you the whole time. I promise to keep you safe.”
"You can’t promise that. It’s like I’ve been cursed.”

"What can I do to make you feel better?”

"Since you can’t make me “un-get” a basket full of Coblins, you can get me through this night in one piece.” "Done. You’ll see. Nothing’s going to happen. We’ll have fun, eat pizza and way too much candy. Before you know it, Halloween will be over.” Jenna glanced at the clock on the dash. 6:00. It was going to be a long night.

... To be continued.

There you go folks. It's a few days late, but here is post two of my Halloween challenge. Please let me know your thoughts. I'll be back next week with my third offering.


  1. Is "coblin" a word you made up? Creepy story! Does it end there? What happens during the next 6 hours?

  2. I did make up Coblins and the mythology behind them. (Inspired by a Children of the Corn thing that happened in Kendall's dorm.) Originally each story was supposed to be complete, but this one got sort of long, so I decided to let it end where it did. The next story picks up where this ones leaves off. They're turning out to be more like chapter of a single story that stand alones. I'm sort of letting the whole thing evolve as I go.

  3. Well you have me hooked, I am anxious to see " what happens next" . Great word by the way "Collins".